News24

Iran fooled by US satirical article

2012-09-29 16:17

Chicago - A joke by the satirical newspaper The Onion appears to have gotten lost in translation.

An Iranian news agency picked up - as fact - a story from the paper about a supposed survey showing an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama. But it was made up, like everything in the just-for-laughs newspaper, which is headquartered in Chicago.

The English-language service of Iran's semi-official Fars news agency republished the story Friday, several days after it appeared in The Onion.

The Iranian version copied the original word-for-word, even including a made-up quote from a fictional West Virginia resident who says he'd rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because "he takes national defence seriously, and he'd never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does".

Homosexual acts are punishable by death in Iran, and Ahmadinejad famously said during a 2007 appearance at Columbia University that "in Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country".

The Iranian version of the article leaves out only The Onion's description of Ahmadinejad as "a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed".

'Superb reportage'

The article was featured prominently on the Fars website alongside its usual fare of stories about advances in Iranian military technology, condemnation of Israel and Iran's nuclear programme. The story appeared to have been taken down by about mid-day, Chicago time.

Calls to Fars representatives were not answered on Friday.

The Onion revelled in the fact that it had been taken seriously.

Onion editor Will Tracy put out a tongue-in-cheek statement that referred to Fars as "a subsidiary of The Onion" that has acted as the paper's Middle Eastern bureau since it was founded in the mid-1980s by Onion publisher T Herman Zweibel.

"The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran's Finest News Source on their superb reportage," Tracy said in jest.

It's not the first time a foreign news outlet has been duped by The Onion. In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the Chinese capital's biggest newspapers, picked up a story from The Onion that claimed members of Congress were threatening to leave Washington unless the building underwent a makeover that included more bathrooms and a retractable dome.

Comments
  • whatda.fuqbro - 2012-09-29 16:27

    Another victim of The Onion!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-29 18:42

      I'm-a-Jihad is an onion...

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:09

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Peace

  • denise.labuschagne.54 - 2012-09-29 16:39

    i would vote 4 him as well.. even here in south africa..

      Shaakeer Adam Seedat - 2012-09-29 17:41

      why denise?

      louis.pienaar1 - 2012-09-29 18:38

      Haha denise! i almost took that seriously!

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

  • hash.jadawat - 2012-09-29 16:42

    Stupid Americans and their reporting..

      Bob.Cee123 - 2012-09-29 16:50

      Stupid Iranians and their inability to identify satire. There....fixed it for you.

      joe.peters.56 - 2012-09-29 16:52

      Actually its stupid Iranians and their lack of quality education to understand satire

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-29 16:57

      jada, jada, jada.

      toofaan.monsoon - 2012-09-29 17:15

      Actually, it's brilliant. Check out Hayibo.com for home grown satire. In a world gone mad, it's great therapy to laugh at yourself. If u don't have a sense of humour (or sense enough to recognise some simple fun) don't bother!!!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-29 18:45

      The Israels should hire the Onion...

      zaatheist - 2012-09-29 19:19

      hash.jadawat Hash! Is that what you are smoking. I suppose you also believe superman exists because you read about him in a comic.

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

  • Savethe White O - 2012-09-29 16:52

    No just the gullible few

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-09-29 17:55

    Howlsville!

  • neilpretorius83 - 2012-09-29 18:23

    The Great Satan 1, Glorious Nation of Iran 0.

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

  • zaatheist - 2012-09-29 19:21

    The Ayatollahs are not know to have a sense of humour that would fall for anything. BTW, have you ever seen an ayatollah smile? Murderous crazy killjoys, the lot of them.

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

  • The-Azanian - 2012-09-29 20:10

    Indeed stupid brainless americans would do that...judging by the fact that a world peace threat capitalist like Romney is inline for presidency.

      boltonbarry - 2012-09-29 22:56

      Seems like the world is stuck between the war mongering Ahmadinejad and the Threat to world peace Romney

      ivan.vanheerden.3 - 2012-09-29 23:12

      Those same stupid people who brought you the internet and facebook?? The fact that you call yourself the azanian speaks volumes to your level of intellect.

      tabib.asnan.3 - 2012-09-30 17:10

      The 'wiping Israel off the face of the earth' statement was also a mistranslation. Could that be reported as well? Please Watch confronting the evidence on youtube Peace

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